The attack on Ataturk airport is likely to impact tourism in the country and further embolden the Islamic State to expand in Turkey.
The attack was most likely conducted by the Islamic State (IS) to undermine the Turkish economy by attacking the airport ahead of the summer months, when tourism peaks. It is also likely intended to pressure Turkey into preventing the Kurdish forces and the Syrian government in northern Syria from shutting down its last access point in the Syrian-Turkish border, through their advances on the towns of Manbij and al-Bab, respectively.
The capability of the Islamic State and similar Sunni militant groups in Turkey is likely to continue to expand so long as Turkey permits domestic political Islamism to grow unchecked. Furthermore, the semi-autonomous and non-hierarchical nature of Islamic State cells in Turkey renders the pre-emption of their attacks by the security forces difficult.
Turkey’s reconciliation with Israel, announced on 27 June, will help reinforce the Islamic State’s narrative that ‘apostate’ governments of Muslim majority countries are aligned with “Jews, Crusaders and unbelievers” against the true Islam it claims to represent.
Analysis on the attack at Istanbul’s airport by Ege Seckin, Analyst, at IHS Country Risk